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One of Chuck Perrin of Dizzy's greatest attributes is his fondness for showcasing emergent or lesser known talent to the wider San Diego jazz fan base.

On April 14, I got the opportunity to take in a show that featured some players I rarely get a chance to see when multi-instrumentalist Tonga Ross-Ma'u led an excellent sextet comprised of Kamau Kenyatta on piano, Antar Martin on bass, Derek Cannon on trumpet, Richard Sellers on drums and a young LA musician, Javon Harvey on tenor saxophone.

Opening with the gentle swing lilt of "Ugetsu," Cannon emerged first with tart aphorisms, deftly blending velocity with long tones over the powerful lines of Martin. Ross-Ma'u followed on guitar, pushing squiggly lines reminiscent of John Abercrombie and early Pat Metheny. Kenyatta's lush harmonies and self-contained melodic strikes rounded it all out.

"Peter Kobia," by Kenyatta was next, featuring a remarkably cogent tenor solo by Harvey, who had the patience to distribute silence equally among his complex lines. Ross-Ma'u entered with horizontally oriented legato lines peppered with short glissandi before the composer responded with cascading melodic sparkles over the kinetic energy of Sellers.

Kenyatta sat out when Ross-Ma'u went to the piano to lead the band into an original, "The Iron Horse," fueled by the Martin's throbbing pedal-point and the propulsive brushwork of Sellers, whose drums were a constant source of delight. There was a distinctly Wayne Shorter-ish feel to this piece as the leader's piano culled laid-back phrases that built slowly into a climactic exchange with Sellers.

Ross-Ma'us piano and Cannon's flugelhorn began "Of Sun & Sand," as a duo, leading to a breathtaking solo from Cannon's warm horn when the full band entered.

"St. Louis Blues," got a modern makeover, with everyone contributing extended solos, especially Sellers, who dropped some jaws with his architecturally developed feature that kept a strong funk undercurrent just beneath the surface.

Comments
1

Some of the best times I've had playing music has been with Semisi, Tonga and Keli Ma'u. The depth of musicianship in that family is ridiculous.

April 18, 2013

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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